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The Theory that Claims the Star Wars Prequels Are Too Sophisticated for Us to Fully Understand

here is an IMAGE of some TEXT

In his extremely long and detailed essay “Star Wars Ring Theory”, Mike Klimo argues for a reexamination of the Star Wars prequel movies.

They are, he claims, not semi-competent jangles of garish noise and wooden acting, but in fact, incredibly sophisticated examples of modern mythmaking, and work with the original Star Wars movies to create an interwoven narrative web more complex than has ever been achieved in the history of cinema.

ben is gone.....QUI-GON

If you like Star Wars and wild theories, this is a great read. I don’t have much love for the prequel movies myself, but after reading Klimo’s essay, I can absolutely look at them with a deeper appreciation, recognizing that a very precise craftsmanship has gone into making them exactly…whatever they are.

Klimo claims in the essay that George Lucas, using “ring theory” (a storytelling concept that involves recurring motifs and patterns), has created in the six Star Wars movies a tightly woven narrative in which no detail is insignificant.

jar jar reaches puberty and returns as chewbacca

He supports this with examples of mirrored compositions, plot structures, story beats, and lines of dialogue from the various movies (I’ve used some of his juxtaposed images in this post). And seeing the evidence in living color, it’s hard to deny: a lot of thought went into making elements of the prequels reprise (foreshadow?) moments from the original trilogy.

I have some thoughts about the conclusions he reaches, though. I’ll let you go and read the essay, and then come back when you’re done, maybe next week sometime, and read the rest of this post.

tear this ship apart until you find my dignity

Back? Okay. As I mentioned above, it’s clear that absolutely, unequivocally, there are moments and shots and entire sequences in the prequels that are designed to evoke counterpart moments and shots and sequences from the original trilogy.

Klimo’s argument is that this proves that all six movies are interlocking parts of a supremely orchestrated master saga…Which might make sense if the original ones weren’t made decades before the prequels, and if Lucas had himself directed all of the original movies.

What makes more sense to me is that, faced with the prospect of making prequel movies, and not wanting to screw it up, Lucas looked back at the original trilogy, and mined it.

In improv theater we have a technique: to make a mistake not look like a mistake, you simply repeat it. Then, it looks like it was a deliberate move all along.

By making movies that were, as close as he could manage, repetitions of motifs from the original movies, Lucas created the intricate interrelated structure that Klimo is so taken with — by filling in the missing pieces after the fact.

It’s kind of like a Rorchach test: it’s just a blob of ink, until you fold the paper in half. Once you mirror the pattern and start repeating things, every detail starts to look meaningful.

Some of the comments on the Ring Theory website point out a similar point: that no matter how intricate a structure the prequels can be shown to have, they’re still, to coin a phrase, semi-competent jangles of garish noise and wooden acting.

The response to this, in that comment thread at least, is that the prequels are meant to read as myths — “You don’t criticize the dialogue in the Bible, do you?” is a paraphrase of one comment.

To which I say: FAIR ENOUGH. Klimo claims to be at work on a follow-up article exploring this point in more depth.


But! I will also say this. I followed a link from Klimo’s article’s bibliography to an obscure journal of philosophy, which also features (besides the article that Klimo references) an article entitled “Nazi Germany: The Forces of Taurus, Scorpio and Capricorn”.

This article is exactly as impassioned and elaborate and detail-filled in the service of arguing the astrological links between the key figures and events of the Third Reich as Klimo’s article praising Lucas as the most sophisticated storyteller in the cinema history.

i'm sure it all makes perfect sense to someone

It’s like Chancellor Palpatine said: “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove.”

[ Star Wars Ring Theory ]

Moving Day at Wondermark HQ

I’m back from Gen Con and I’m moving into my new studio in West Los Angeles! In the next few days I’ll be catching up with the Roll-a-Sketch drawings ordered in the last few weeks, as well as the Kickstarter. Thanks for your kind support with those, I look forward to drawing your creatures from the comfort of my new digs! Once it is at all… comfortable.

It’s a weird thing, moving; I was in my last place for four and a half years, and in that time a lot has happened, a lot has changed about how I run my business. I have more stuff now, for sure: more inventory, and supplies, and books, and the detritus of a life incessantly peppered with miscellaneous projects. It was a startling thing, seeing box after box after box come out of the old place like a clown car. How did it all fit?

Now, of course, I have the challenge of figuring out where stuff will go, in the new place. I’m trying to be very deliberate with the process, looking at each object and coming up with a sensible home for it (or deciding it doesn’t need to hang around), so we don’t end up simply drowning in boxes and clutter once again, but at a new address.

It’s surprisingly hard! It feels weighty, a real responsibility, and of course giving an object a home is assigning it a value, a purpose, when not everything’s purpose or value is easy to define in a way that implies where precisely it should live. Some things just seem to want to float, to exist only in order to pop up occasionally, without any real utility besides simply being a souvenir of itself.

In addition, I want to look critically at my work habits, the processes I do often and the materials and supplies I need close at hand, and try carefully to design a workplace in concert with the sorts of things I do anyway, or want to do more of. Having a dedicated studio at all is quite a luxury, so I’m trying to take it seriously.

I’d like to invite your comments: what successes or failures have you had with setting up workspaces? What are lessons you’ve learned, or best practices, or things to keep in mind? I work well within constraints, so I guess what I’m really asking for are some rules. Let me know if you have any tips!

Last chance for Roll-a-Sketches! PLUS: Gen Con!



Hooray! The Roll-a-Sketch coloring book Kickstarter ended today having funded at a staggering 379,900% of our goal amount. Thank you so much to everyone who pledged! Stand by for news & updates coming via Kickstarter on that project, starting next week.

If you missed the campaign proper, I’m gonna leave up the order link for original Roll-a-Sketches until next week, because why not!! So here’s your chance! (I also changed up the options a little.)

Here are a couple I’ve done for folks already:






I had a hand in this, 'tis true

You could get one too! For one more week only!!

But first: This week is Gen Con! I’m at Booth 641!

Plus, I’ll be going to the Concert Against Humanity on Friday night, check out the sweet lineup!!

pretty sweet!!


It’s a big week next week!! (The picture above isn’t relevant to anything, it’s just a context-free reflection of my fondest hopes and dreams.)

On Monday, my Roll-a-Sketch Kickstarter comes to an end. It has been a staggering success — nearly 250,000% funded as I write this! The potato salad guy got to 550,000% with his dumb thing, but I’m happy with this too.

If you would like a Roll-a-Sketch coloring book, or postcards, or a painting, or a custom mug — that’s a thing we’re offering too! — then you have a few days left. Thanks so much to those that have pledged (or ordered a sketch from me directly! Just a few more days for those, too.)

Then, later in the week, I’m heading to Indianapolis for Gen Con! I’ll be at Booth 641 along with a bunch of other pals! This will be YEAR THREE of attending Gen Con and I’m quite looking forward to it. It’s always really inspiring, walking around the floor and checking out all the cool, beautiful board games.

I keep meaning to try and set up some kind of event at Gen Con, a playtest or something, but nothing’s worked out yet. Maybe next year!!

Then…I come home to an ALL-NEW STUDIO!

For the last month or so, we’ve been working on getting a new studio built out in Westchester (in southwest Los Angeles).

It’s a big move and it’s got me pretty nervous… But I’m really excited to see it all come together. I hope to have a studio-warming open house when we finally get all moved in! If you’re in the L.A. area, save the date for “Oh, geez, soon, I hope.”

And since moving is expensive, here is an IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN UPDATE: If anyone wants naming rights to the workshop tables in the new studio (complete with engraved plaque), I have just added that tier to the Kickstarter, in these few final days. We will refer to a workbench in the new studio by your name for ONE FULL YEAR.

This MAY be a webcomics first?? But I wouldn’t put anything past Andrew Hussie.

My Interview With the Inventor of the Coloring Book

actual photo

As is well known, I both (a) have an interest in things that are old, and (b) am currently promoting a Kickstarter, active right now, for my Roll-a-Sketch coloring book.

Thus, I thought it would be enlightening to speak with Col. (Ret.) Mirithus F. Coloring (b.1851), inventor of the coloring book.

Our interview took place at the Colonel’s residence.

MALKI: Colonel, you have been called both “the father of crayon-art” and also, by some, “an abomination; a scourge on the house-hold and a fiend from the Pit.” Why such a dramatic response?

COL. COLORING: Well, first I should make quite clear that any moniker regarding “crayon-art” has been fiercely opposed by Professor Crayola and his band of toughs. I have never, and certainly do not now, proscribe any implement in particular for use in my books, or recommend one over any other.

It’s just that children most often turn to crayons to fill your books.

Such has been alleged, but I have never marketed a single pamphlet as a “crayon-book.” Adults tend to use tinted pencils, I should add, and there are many more adults in the world than children.

What about the more vitriolic opinions of your work?

You must realize that when my books first began to circulate, it was a different time. Most books in the home were farming ledgers or family Bibles. The prospect of a book with no useful information in it — much less one most often perused by children, already the most useless members of the family? Mothers claimed it encouraged idleness and fancy, and fathers charged it was merely a scheme to sell penny chromo-chalks and watercolours.

Which did sell quite well, I should add.

You shouldn’t add any such thing. I never saw a nickel from the sale of any chromo-chalk; that was all my brother’s doing, capitalising on our distinctive family name. Besides, all courts have cleared me of any liability for any lung ailments they may have caused, and my brother, as you know, was lost at sea.

Last seen on a wax-freighter bound for Crete, I recall?

Yes. Ask Professor Crayola where that boat wound up.

I’d be afraid for my safety if I did. But back to the books: eventually the vitriol faded. What changed?

The old generation died off! Children who’d grown up with my books recalled them fondly when they had children of their own, and of course those who had suffered any ill effects from the chalk or anything else never survived to the age of reproduction! It was a win-win scenario.

Did you ever fear that your books were, indeed, a bad influence on children?

Pish-tosh and bubble-gum! Everything is a bad influence on children: dogs fouling in the road, or the banker’s heavy hand on the door, or the Congressional Record. My books contained nothing worse than anything a child would see in ten minutes at a rodeo.

Some would say that the generations that have grown up since the introduction of the Coloring-Book have forgotten how to respect their elders.

Any child in history that ever respected an elder is a child that ought to be reported to the authorities as a fraud.

You know, I presume, that I have a (duly licensed) coloring book project of my own, currently available. Any advice for a new entrant in the field?

Get out while you still can.

Wondermark thanks Col. Coloring for his candid answers.

Also available in the Kickstarter: Paintings from the Roll-a-Sketch Yearbook! There are six days left in the campaign!!

ROLL IT UP (don't actually do this)